We’ve all heard of an impulse buy – how about an impulse donation? We are so grateful to the good Samaritan who acted on the spur of the moment recently to help a group of new community members feel a little bit more welcome to Canada.

Berna Bolanos, a manager with CCS’ women support services team, was in a checkout line recently at an Ardene store at one of the clothing and apparel retailer’s Mississauga locations, juggling multiple pairs of boots in her hands, when a woman in line in front of her turned around, noticed all the boots, and asked her why she was buying so many pairs.

“When she learned I was buying the boots to help outfit a group of 45 Salvadorians new to Canada, she offered to buy all the boots,” Berna said.

The woman paid for all 21 pairs Berna was holding and she and her daughter disappeared as quickly as they appeared, posing only for a quick photo, but leaving before Berna could get even a first name, let alone consent to post the photo. (And judging from the photo, the pair looked like lovely people, indeed!)

The group was coming to Canada in early December as part of a temporal worker program. CCS had received a request through the Salvadorian consulate in Toronto to help outfit them with boots and coats especially to help prepare them for their first Canadian winter.

Berna had organized an internal clothing drive across the company and the CCS team had been taking up the charge by donating gently-used winter apparel of all shapes and sizes. One employee had made a monetary donation to the campaign which had brought Berna to Ardene to buy the boots. And with the generous mystery donor picking up the tab, Berna was able to re-deploy the money earmarked for boots with coats.

When CCS’ Suhan Jimenez delivered the items, group members got together to record a short video to show their appreciation. (It was great to see so many smiling faces!)


This the second time recently that a community member or local business has stepped up to support us. Last week, we told you about national bedding retailer, QE Home / Quilts Etc., and their donation of 25 Throw blankets that we gladly added to the clothing drive allotment.

The holidays are full of stories of gestures of goodwill and acts made in the greater good. It was great to hear about one that hit so close to home. We’d just love this awesome mystery donor to contact us, so we can say “thanks” a little more formally!

If you would like to support the campaign, or the work of CCS’ women support services team, please consider a tax-deductible donation.